Having a doctor suggest that you have an Upper GI Endoscopy can be a bit unnerving if you have never had one before. Below you can discover all that is entailed in the process as well as how to prepare for the procedure.

What is an Upper GI Endoscopy?

An endoscopy refers to a technique to look inside the body with the use of an endoscope, which is inserted directly into the body. Upper GI refers to the gastro-intestinal tract (digestive system). An Upper GI Endoscopy allows physicians to look inside the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the beginning of the small intestine)

The physician uses an endoscope to diagnose and examine the area. An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera and light at the end.

Why is an Upper GI Endoscopy done?

An Upper Endoscopy can help discover the reason for problems such as: problems swallowing, nausea, indigestion, abdominal pain, bleeding, and ulcers. Tiny instruments can be passed along the endoscope to collect samples, stop bleeding sites, dilate or stretch a narrowed area, or perform other procedures.

Preparing for Your Upper Endoscopy

Patients will be given specific instructions that will outline what should and should not be done in preparation for an Upper GI Endoscopy. A very important step is to not eat before the upcoming procedure as food and non-clear liquids can block the view of the endoscope and may cause vomiting. Specific instructions on medication(s) will be given ahead of time as well.

During Your Upper Endoscopy

Steps will be taken to ensure that you will be as comfortable as possible during your procedure. Your vital signs will be constantly monitored and you may be given a sedative to help you relax, but you will remain awake enough to cooperate. A throat spray or local anesthetic may be given to help the endoscope pass through.

A mouthpiece is placed to keep your mouth open for the endoscope and once everything is in place, our gastroenterologists will gently maneuver the endoscope into position. During the procedure, the physician will look closely for any problems or abnormalities that may require further evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment. Sample tissue may be taken for further examination as well.

An endoscopy is a safe method, but with any medical procedure there is the possibility of complications. Though rare, complications that can occur include perforation, puncture of the intestinal wall, and bleeding. Again, these are highly unlikely complications. Be sure to discuss any concerns or specifics about the procedure with your doctor.

After the Endoscopy

After the endoscopy is complete, you will be cared for in the recovery area until the effects of the medication have worn off. You will be given preliminary information about the results of your procedure and given instructions on how soon you can eat/drink. Minor problems may arise, such as a mildly sore throat, bloating, or cramping, but should pass away within 24 hours.

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